“He’s not a prophet, but he sees where things might go because he has an eye for the world,” said Chris Dercon, director of the Volksbuhne Berlin and co-curator of Tate Modern’s Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 show at its press view this morning. A huge 14-room exhibition it bears out Dercon’s words with installations such as the ironically titled truth study centre, a collection of newspaper and magazine clippings, objects, drawings and images, that reflect on media representation of facts and our propensity to believe what we want despite them; also on show are Tillmans’ pro-Remain posters from the recent British referendum on EU membership.
A close-up shot of a car headlight shot in 2012 is accompanied by the thought (in the exhibition booklet) that headlights are more angular now, “giving them a predatory appearance that might reflect a more competitive climate”; shots taken in nightclubs are interpreted in terms of the freedom might experience in such places. Other images show apples, celebrities, static interference; a specially-designed room, The Playback Room, is devoted to sharing recorded music on state-of-the-art equipment. The subject matter varies but it adds up to a singular, and maybe prophetic, vision.
Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 is on show at Tate Modern from 15 February – 11 June; entry costs £12.50. www.tate.org.uk